The National Park - Englands Adventure Capital
The Lake District offers a wide breadth of activities and adventure. Free for all are the fells, mountains, forests and lakes where you can choose tracks and trails to suit all abilities.
Steam Boat trips are relativley inexpensive and sail on the four big lakes of Coniston, Windermere, Ullswater and Derwentwater, offering you a different view of the landscape. Hire boats are readiliy available, again on the four main lakes. Here you can rent canoes, rowing boats, sailing dinghies and my favourite, little motor boats.
For a few of our favourite walks and days out, along with lots of information about the Lakes and mountains, the villages and towns see our Lake District Guide.
For all info on the National Park and event and activities see the Lake District National Parks Website
The Exciting Stuff
You may want to try something a little out of the ordinary, something to get the adrenaline rushing, your heart racing or simply an activity you might never have thought of doing. We have gathered together a list of people, places and events that should satisfy the adventurous spirited visitors.
Lythe Valley Falconry
Lyth Valley Falconry was founded and is run by my daughters friend Lydia. Lydia has a passion for birds and the natural environment and loves to share her falconry experiences with others. Her aim has always been to fly birds in natural beautiful surroundings where they feel at home and perform to their best where there is simply nothing better than spending an afternoon on the hill with a falcon, or wandering deep into the woods on a hawking expedition.
Lydia offers unique experiences to those with an interest in birds of prey, falconry, and the natural world. In joining her you will learn in depth about the fantastic members of her flying team. She trys to make the experience as hands on as possible, with a real focus on not only the birds themselves but the ancient art of falconry. Each session is kept private to you and your group, and takes place on one of the most beautiful Cumbrian estates.
For more information, contact and booking go to Lydia's website Lyth Vally Falconry
Predator Experience - Walking With Wolves
Predator Experience is a young highly motivated company founded by Daniel and Dee Ashman. Their collective 45 years experience of professional bird of prey and animal management equip them to offer thrilling interactive experience involving a variety of predators.
Promoting the conservation of birds of prey and other predators through experiential education. Inspiring the public to protect bio-diversity for the future. Aid wild populations by promoting positive raptor management and research.
Join the wolf hybrid pack, on a magical walk through the woodlands and forests. Be part of the pack. Learn the intricacy of social ranking and the subtle art of canine communication. If youʼre lucky, maybe even hear them howl, and howl with them. Set aside myth and legend, walk foot by paw on an exhilarating journey into the wild life of a wolf. A reasonable level of fitness and ability, is required for this experience. Duration 1hr. Minimum age 16 yrs.
White Water Canoeing & Kayaking - Ghyll Scrambling - Gorge Walking
There a plenty of Activity and Adventure centres located throughout the Lake District. They can be a one stop shop for activities ranging from archery to mountain biking, paint balling to quad bike driving. One of the best and most exciting things to try is white water canoeing, where you get to take a fast trip down a fast-flowing river. Under the guidance of qualified instustors they will choose the best river on the day and where the best is after heavy rains.
Gorge or Ghyll scrambling is a full on get wet activitie. Scrambling up spectacular mountain becks, traverse deep pools, climb small waterfalls, swim and jump in when you feel like it. Water levels obviously affect this activity and the fun is adjusted accordingly. Each session is around 2hrs and wetsuits can be hired.
For info go to the GoLakes website for various venues and links.
Remember Little Nellie in You Only Live Twice, where Bond, James Bond, flys the little Autogyro over the lair of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, set under an extinct volcano, and thinking to yourself what fun that would be – not the being shot at bit, but the flying.
Well want no more. There are two companies that will get you airborne in twin seat Gyrocopters where, after a short instruction, you can take control or simply sit back and enjoy the ride in the hands of experienced pilots, flying over the lakes and own extinct volcanoes.
Virgin Balloon Flights
Imagine the thrill as you soar majestically skywards in the basket of a huge balloon with beautiful Lake Windermere stretching away before and beneath you…Well, this dream can now be a reality, because with Virgin Balloon Flights you can take off right beside England’s largest and most famous natural lake. Found at the southern tip of the lake in the heart of the Lake District, Newby Bridge takes its name from the five-arched bridges built across the river Leven in 1651 and is arguably one of the most spectacular balloon launch sites in the world.
For more information, contact and booking go to Virgin Balloon Flights Newby Bridge Launch Site Info
North West Parachute Centre
Still in the air, NWPC will take you up for thrill of a lifetime. From their custom built planes you dive in tandem with a professional sky diver from a height of around 15,000ft with a freefall decent of some 125mph. Once the parachute opens, you have a gentle five minute ride down where the views will be spectacular. Options are learning to jump solo or have a second skydiver film your tandem jump for an everlasting memory.
For details go to http://skydivenorthwest.co.uk/
Honister Slate Mine - Via Ferrata - The Iron Way & The Infinity Bridge
Honister is the last working slate mine in England, producing its famous Westmoreland Green Slate for over 300 years. Open to the public, the mine owners offer several activities and tours.
For all, adults and children, there are the underground tours of the mine tunnels, offering a fascinating insight to both past and present practices and conditions.
For the brave and seeker of thrills, there is the Via Ferrata and The Infinity Bridge.
Set on the side of Honister Pass, high above the beautiful valley of Buttermere, this really is a unique, some would say scary, experience.
There are two different courses. The Classic course follows the ancient miner's cliff-edge footpath, high on Fleetwith Pike. The Xtreme is more of everything including the Burma Bridge, a wire bridge suspended 2,000 feet above the Valley floor and a 66 foot vertical cargo net to finish off.
Not for the feint hearted or those without a head for heights but a must for thrill junkies and although you are clipped to a cable so safety is ensured, in no way detracts from the thrill.
The Infinity Bridge is part of the VF Extreme, or can be taken as an activity by itself. Called Infinity as often you cannot see the other side in cloudy weather, its 350ft length is strung 2000ft above the gorge, placing it among the highest and certainly the longest in Europe and probably the most terrifying of our extreme activities.
For more information, along with restrictions, advice and booking go to http://www.honister.com/
Kendal Climbing Centre & Climbing Wall
Extreme Mountain Biking
The GoLakes website has pages and pages of cycle routes and maps to suit all abilities. Two of the best turbo charged stand out trails are to found in the Grizedale and Whinlater forests.
Grizedale’s Pro North Face Mountain Bike Trail consists of nine sections of sinuous tracks and has a Red grade. Of late they have added a Black trail offering awesome jumps, berms and steep descents.
Whinlatter’s Altura Trail is the longest purpose built trail in the Lake District. Some 19 kilometers, it is a Red Grade trail offering all of the popular features, jumps, berms, rock features, skinnies and cork screws. On top of this the route takes you some 500m above Keswick offerinf fantastic views of Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite, Helvellyn and Skiddaw.
These trails are not for the faint hearted and are designed for experienced to expert riders. Happily, there are less grueling routes more suited to the occasional rider, so don’t be put off exploring the idea of a day in a magnificent forest. Bikes and kit can be hired and it is best to book in advance. For all the info go to the GoLakes site or direct to Forestry Commission’s own site, https://www.forestry.gov.uk/england
Segway’s, those self-balancing two-wheeled personal vehicles, are huge fun and can be enjoyed by almost anyone.
Both Grizedale Forest and Whinlatter offer accompanied Segway adventures, where you cruise the forest floor for about an hour on their all-terrain vehicles. There are stop overs at various viewpoints, so taking your camera could get you that memorable shot.
You need to book in advance through the GO-Ape website, also check if any restrictions apply, which I believe are only age, and weight related, along with their advice on what to wear and bring.
As of publication the fee is £35 per person giving you around an hour of woodland fun. There also a parking charge at both forest visitor centres.
A tree top adventure where you can discover your inner Tarzan. Based all around the UK, GoApe tree top adventures have two locations in the Lake District National Park, one at the Grizedale Forest in south lakes, the other at Whinlatter in north lakes.
Hugely successful and great fun it is a series of rope bridges, scramble nets, high ropes, tunnels and zip wires forming trails that are suspended high up in the forest canopy.
There are several options to choose from. The Tree Top Junior is for all ages, where adults can supervise either on the course or from the ground.
Tree Top Adventure is the big one with some seriously high ropes, bridges and platforms, along with two zip wires and reckoned to be around a 2 to 3-hour experience.
Zip Trekking Adventure in Grizedale. A network of some seven tandem zip wires that traverse the forest high up in the Douglas Firs. Totaling some 3000 meters with the longest section coming in at 500 meters the top speed is a breathtaking 45 mph.
You need to book on the GoApe website, also see the options each Forest has on offer, along with checking out any restrictions such as age, height and weight so as not to disappoint anyone in your party.
Costs are from around £25 to £45 per head along with any parking fees.
At the center of the woodland there is a cafe, shop, bike hire and the arts gallery. The forest chiefs are big on art, where you will find a host of woodland sculpture set along the trails. For me, it really is the best of days out, perhaps visiting some twenty times over as many years, where in summer it is all dappled leafy glades, come autum and winter the smell of loam and fallen leaves. The forest is so huge, the trials so varied one visit will not be enough.
Whinlatter lies in the fells above Derwentwater and is England's only true Mountain Forest, with stunning views, fantastic walks through wooded glades, beautiful views across Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater and Keswick, along with exhilarating mountain biking, rare wildlife and adventure play. The forest is home to a host of wonderful wildlife, from red squirrels to the Bassenthwaite Ospreys who nest near the forest from April to August.
From the Forest Centre you can obtain maps of the many trails and paths, a good many of which are graveled or hard surfaced making them accessible to all. There are also two permanent orienteering courses, where you can get the route marker cards from the Visitor Centre. For Mountain bikers there is The Altura Trail offering stunning views.
There are several companies offering off road experiences to visitors. KANKKU based in Windermere have their own specially prepared vehicles offering guided off road expeditions with tuition as part of the experience. Alternatively, you can take to the tracks by yourself in one of their ex-army Land Rovers. You get a briefing, maps, satellite GPS and a road book direction system to take care of the navigation while you enjoy the drive.
KANKKU are by no means the only source of off roading. Check out GoLakes for a go at Quads, MadTrax , JCBs, Tanks and blind video driving.
Flyboarding, invented by one Franky Zapata, champion water skier, is a water powered jetpack that looks like something out of a James Bond movie.
The basic principal is the jetpack, most often attached to and powered by a jet ski, shoots out water from nozzles under a platform to which your boots are attached, the thrust propelling you up into the air above the water. A real thrilling experience, the jetpacks can launch you up to a height of 10 metres as you swoop across the water and where experts can somersault, dive in and out of the water like a dolphin and generally perform some mind blowing aerobatics.
You need to have a decent level of fitness to participate. To discover more go to the Low Wood Bay Water Sports website where you can also check out waterskiing and wakeboarding, sailing and paddle boarding along with boat hire.